Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of your own mini mushroom farm! With a little bit of work, patience and love, you'll be well on your way to growing your own mushrooms at home using our convenient and easy grow kit. Please carefully read the instructions below prior to starting and during the growing process.
Please email us at email@example.com (or even easier just hit the green "Chat" box in the lower right hand corner of your screen) if you have any questions at any point before, during or after the process!
Things To Consider After Receiving Your Kit & Before Starting Your Grow:
1. Store the kit indoors in a relatively cool, dry place, ideally away from direct sunlight and too much drafty air.
2. Keep the box fully intact until you are ready to begin the growing process.
3. Please don't refrigerate the block (try not to leave it in an area that is colder than 35° F or hotter than 85° F), and try and initiate the growing process within 1 - 2 weeks of purchase.
4.The mycelium waiting to grow within are quite hardy (don't worry if you drop the block or need to move it around), but try and give them a stable environment to live in while you get ready to start your grow.
5. Don't look to start your grow if you will be away from home (or won't have anyone who can check in on the kit for you) for many (3+) days in the next ~2-3 week period.
6. You will likely need a spray bottle of some kind (we sell them on our site or at our markets, but feel free to use your own) and the within the top of the box (open the handle) you will find a large, thick, zip-lock plastic bag. Please make sure to save this bag, as it is a critical part of the grow process.
7. IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW BUT ESPECIALLY IN REGARDS TO WHEN TO TAKE THE KIT OUT OF THE LARGE ZIP-LOCK BAG (HINT: IT IS ALMOST AS SOON AS SMALL MUSHROOMS BECOME VISIBLE!) People are often leaving the kits too long in the bag and starving their mushrooms of air, so kindly make note of that detail in particular. Thanks so much and enjoy!
Starting The Growing Process:
1. Find a space in your home that will receive some indirect sunlight or direct artificial light (especially on the growing side). You won't need much space around the kit itself (at least ~6 inches in each direction should suffice), but somewhere that receives good fresh airflow (ie. out on a counter and not in a closet) without exposure to too many drafts (ie. not below an open window or above a heat vent) is ideal. Try to avoid a space that is overly air-conditioned or heated (it's fine if in a room with that, just not a small contained space), as those tend to dry out the air, making it harder for the mushroom to grow. A kitchen counter or living room table are types of ideal places to start your grow.
2. All the mushroom varieties we put in our kits should grow in temperatures between 50° F and 75° F, but certain types like it colder or hotter. If you have a blue oyster, consider aiming for between 55° F and 70° F. For the yellow or pink oyster, 60° F and 75° F is a good range. The lion's mane does best between 50° F and 65° F. Please note that you don't need to keep the grow kit at these suggested ranges at all times to get a successful growth and it's fine if the temperature occasionally goes above or below the range (even for a number of hours), but the longer you are able to keep the kit in these type of temperatures the better your results should be.
3. Once you have a found a good place / environment to start your grow, place the box on it's bottom (see picture abve) or on its side (see picture above), so at the very least the side with the perforated cardboard cutout (that says INSTRUCTIONS and a QR code is visible) is visible and faces you. Note you will see pictures of both setups above, although we recommend the vertical (handle of the kit facing upwards) orientation, unless the other works best for you. Using your fingers, pull out the perforated side of the box, exposing the inside of the grow kit. You should see a block within a plastic enclosure. Using a sharp knife, cut TWO vertical lines equally spaced apart the entire length of the block (see picture above). You should aim to cut the plastic enclosure and it's OK if the knife penetrates the surface of the block (but avoid doing so more than an inch so not to damage the mycelium within)
4. Take out the very large zip-lock bag that came with your kit (it will be stored within the space between the inner block and the handle within the kit). Open the large bag and gently lower the kit within the bag, keeping the zip-lock area of the bag at the top (see picture above). Again, we recommend using the vertical orientation (as pictured), but you can adjust all these instructions for the side orientation should you prefer. On the entire side of the zip-lock bag that is on the same side as your grow area (where you just cut two vertical lines), use a pair of scissors to cut approximately TEN holes in the zip-lock bag, approximately 1/2 to 1 inch in size (see pictures above), spread evenly across the side of the bag where you will be growing (but clustered towards the bottom where the growing space is). If it is easier to cut these holes in the zip-lock bag with the grow kit out of the bag, feel free to do so, just remember to only cut on the growing side of the bag. The goal here is to have at least ~1/4 (or more) of the growing space / cuts you made exposed directly to the air (very roughly, no need to be precise with this step), so if you need to increase the size of your holes or the number of them that you make in the zip-lock bag to achieve that (again very roughly), please do so. If you made them even larger it is should be fine as long as there is enough plastic structure to capture some misting near the grow cut was made. Now shift the grow kit within the zip-lock bag so that there is some space between the bag and grow kit on the growing side (try not to have the grow kit pressed up against the non-growing side, but should be closer to that side to allow room for your mushrooms to sprout). The zip-lock bag should be loosest around the growing side / area of the kit. Using a spray bottle, mist the walls of the zip-lock bag that are directly closest to your grow area on the inside of the bag (it is OK to directly mist the grow area / block itself, but do so lightly and only during this initial step). Fully zip-up the top of the zip-lock bag as best you can and place the grow kit in the best environment described above.
Tending To Your Grow:
1. Once a day, repeat the misting procedure (opening the zip-lock bag, spraying fine mist on the INSIDE WALLS of the zip-lock bag closest to the GROW area, while trying to avoid directly spraying the block / grow area). During these initial phases, direct sunlight, exposure to excessive heat / cold or dry air can damage your growing process (the biggest risk now is your block drying out or getting too hot or cold...but don't over-react and "water" it in anyway other than the misting procedure described above...it will look like things are too dry but if the environment isn't overly dry itself than that is still to be expected...don't worry!). Plenty of fresh air moving through the area is very helpful, but again don't place the kit directly in the stream of moving air. There is no perfect environment or time for each mushroom to sprout (it's still up to nature in the end), so don't worry if things aren't always perfect. Just try and keep things as stable and consistent in the conditions described each day and you should soon see progress. Don't be discouraged if you don't see any sign of growth (or any signs of life) for the first week or two (sometimes even three weeks!)...the process can happen suddenly (and at that point growth will happen rapidly). You will often see various forms of white-ish, grey-ish cobweb-like or film-like growth on the surface of the block (often times covering large amounts of the visible area). That is often normal, but if you should suspect or be worried of any mold or contamination, please take a picture and send to us for feedback.
2. Watch your grow-kit daily for signs of activity. Again, you likely won't see anything for the first 1 - 3 weeks, at which point one day you'll begin to notice tiny little (often whitish) pinheads appearing in the two grooves you cut in the block. At this point, continue the misting procedure (again, on the walls of the bag, not directly on the your new mushrooms), but increase this to twice a day. Soon after (within 1 - 3 days), the pinheads will begin to look like mini mushrooms (any tiny little clusters of mushroom caps with or without stems should be an indication you are at this phase). At this point you should REMOVE THE ENTIRE GROW KIT from the large zip-lock bag (do not discard the big plastic bag, SAVE IT!)...make sure to wait until the pinheads actually look like tiny little mushroom caps to do this, but do not wait until you start to see stems growing to make this move. PLEASE NOTE THAT IN THE PICTURES ABOVE YOU SEE AN OYSTER MUSHROOM KIT IN THE PROCESS OF GROWING BEYOND THE "PINNING" PHASE THAT IS STILL IN THE LARGE ZIP-LOCK BAG...THIS IS FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY AND YOU SHOULD FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE FOR ALL VARIETIES. NOTE AT THIS POINT IT IS BETTER TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF TAKING IT OUT OF THE BAG TOO EARLY RATHER THAN TOO LATE. WE HAVE NOTICED THAT THOSE WITH LION'S MANE KITS TEND TO LEAVE THEIR GROW IN THE ZIP-LOCK BAG FOR TOO LONG AND IF YOU HAVE A LION'S MANE KIT PLEASE REMOVE YOUR KIT FROM THE ZIP-LOCK BAG NO LATER THAN 7 DAYS AFTER INITIATING YOUR GROW, EVEN IF YOU DO NOT SEE ANY VISIBLE SIGNS OF GROWTH (AND EARLIER THAN 7 DAYS FINE AS WELL IF SEE THE INITIAL SIGNS OF GROWTH). One symptom of oxygen-starved mushrooms is they will have long stems or be growing in unnatural shapes, so if you see any indication of this ensure your grow is out of the zip lock bag and somewhere with fresh flowing air. For lion's mane, if they look like weird spider web growths instead of nice bulbs, this is also likely due to a lack of air flow. Keep the kit in an area with conditions described above, but now access to fresh air is a priority (doesn't need to be flowing or active fresh air, just an open area), however the risk of "drying out" now increases. Now that your newly growing mushrooms will be more "exposed" to the environment, try and keep them away from pets, insects and anywhere they could be accidently bumped or disturbed. If needed, you can keep any variety in the large plastic bag through the rest of the grow, but you will need to double the amount of holes in the bag and make them twice as large (as well as increase misting, see next step below), for all types.
3. At this point you will need to monitor your growth daily (they can double in size each day)! Begin to DIRECTLY mist the small mushrooms 1 - 5 times a day (but spray using the misting setting only and far away as possible so that they are only gently misted over a wide area...especially the lion's mane!), but generally you should be misting less in the early days, and misting more in the later days of growth. For the oysters, aim for the upper end of that range (or above as needed), while the for the lion's mane aim towards the bottom, but listen to your specific mushroom for it's needs. To check for drying (which should be done multiple times a day), gently touch either you oyster or your lion's mane with the back of a fully washed hand (be careful! they are quite delicate in this phase). They should not be moist / wet to the touch at any point except immediately after a misting (reduce misting if this is the case after you touch them prior to misting), but certainly not dry to the touch (they should have the rubbery / soft texture the mushrooms you get from us at the market have...but early in the growth it may be hard to tell, so don't worry if they don't feel "normal" until later in the growth phase). Adjust your misting accordingly. Please note that mushrooms can look positively STRANGE while growing, but don't be too concerned and feel free to reach out to us with pictures at any point should you have questions. After a few days pf growth post "pinning" if your oysters have super long stems and very small caps (again, this is normal during most phases of growth, it is only not ideal if the caps are barely wider than the stems after multiple days of growth and the stems are very skinny and long) please reach out to us to check in. If the lion's mane stops growing after a few days and remain small and barely raised above the block, or turns yellow, please reach out to us to check in. Most "strange looking" mushrooms will begin to correct themselves after a little extra time, but if something looks off please feel free to reach out, as the earlier in the process we can alter any adverse conditions in the growing environment the better the outcome. Don't be shy, we love to see these!
4. Once the "pinning" begins, you will be amazed at how rapidly your mushrooms grow in size. The oyster mushrooms can grow to where each cap is several inches across, but the prime point to harvest is when they are around 2 - 3 inches, before the outer margins of the cap begins to curl upward. For the lion's mane, they should grow to fist-sized lumps, and will be ready to harvest once the "teeth" (the little "hair" like follicles covering the mushroom) are at least long enough to be individually visible. Continue your maintenance process each day until you feel they have reached these conditions and are ready to harvest (should be within 5 - 10 days of you noticing the initial "pins").
1. When you feel you are ready to harvest, place the kit somewhere close it will be OK if there is some debris that falls during the process. For the oysters, grasp the base of the stem between your fingers and pull them free with a slow twisting motion, trying to leave as much of the original block they have grown out of intact. You also may use cooking scissors to clip off the mushrooms from the block. Repeat for different stems as necessary...the mushrooms will have base "stems" that they are connected to, feel free to pull those to get the whole grow in one or two steps, or feel free to pull each discrete mushroom individually (we recommend the former approach, as if you do the later you will need to do more work to "clean" the block with a knife down as close as possible to the original substrate if you are attempting a another flush). You can use the same approach with your scissors, if desired. For the lion's mane, grasp each "bulb" with your fingers as close to the base as possible and slowly twist free from the substrate, repeating for each of the discrete mushrooms.
2. The final form of the mushroom can vary widely, and don't be disappointed if your first grow isn't as large, colorful or thick as the shrooms you get from us in our markets. We are always available to answer questions on how to improve your next grow (each grow kit can support at least two grows, if you're game!) and with some practice, you'll soon become a grow-at-home mushroom master.
3. Your newly harvested mushrooms can be stored in the fridge in a brown paper bag for up to one week from harvest, but they are certainly best within three days and at their absolute finest when cooked fresh off the grow kit. Please see elsewhere on our site for further info on how best to prepare your new freshly grown mushrooms and congratulations on your successful grow! We hope you had as much fun growing these as we do.
4. We would LOVE to see all of your freshly grown mushrooms! If you can tag us @fungivalleyla (Instagram) when / if you do post photos, that would be much appreciated. Also, if you're not a social media person, please send the pictures to use directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any feedback of any kind is welcome as well. Happy growing!
Second Flushes (If You Want To):
1. After the entire flush has been harvested, use a clean knife to lightly scrape off any remaining mushroom on the block (again OK if you scrape off a bit of the original substrate to do so). Try and be thorough here and get back to the "original" substrate block as much as possible, for the entire exposed surface. Place the block back in your zip-lock bag, this time positioning the holes on the OPPOSITE side of your grow area. Heavily mist the INSIDE of the zip-lock bag closest to your grow area. Zip-up the zip-lock bag and wrap and tuck the bag as tightly as possible around the grow kit as possible (if need to collapse the handle of the grow kit to make this easier, feel free to do so). You are aiming to have the plastic bag as tightly around the grow kit as possible, while voiding any pockets of air.
2. Return the grow kit to a cool, dark place and allow it to rest for at least three days. At the end of this, check the area for any initial growth and skip to the "Monitoring Your Growth" section and repeat all steps. NOTE THAT IF YOU MADE LARGER HOLES IN YOUR ZIP LOCK BAG IN THE STEPS ABOVE, START AGAIN WITH THE SMALLER ONES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BAG. If you don't see anything, start from "Starting Your Grow Process" section and repeat all steps.
3. While not all grow kits will be successful in producing a second flush (and the second flush is typically not as vibrant as the first), if you follow all steps closely you should be able to have some success in getting a second (or more) flush. If you are having no success (or note the GROW area is particularly dry), try opening up the grow kit box and exposing the opposite face of the inner block to the GROW area and repeat the "Starting Your Grow" steps, including cutting two new lines with a knife).